Top 20: Tina Thompson, no. 17
The definitive ranking of the WNBA’s best players.
By Ben York / @bjyork
Some of you won’t care, and we’re about 99 percent positive we’ll get a few of the traditional “what is the WNBA?” comments we usually do. But this is long overdue – SLAMonline’s first ever in-depth player rankings for the WNBA.
Why just the top 20 and not the top 50? Simple. There are 18 fewer teams in the WNBA than the NBA and roster sizes are limited to 11 players. Thus, the NBA has hundreds of more players than the WNBA does – and this list needs and deserves to be competitive.
This list is based solely on projected performance in the 2011 season. Traditional player statistics are taken into account but being a successful and effective player in The W is so much more than that. It’s what each player means to the team – in terms of responsibility, leadership, management and all-around game.
We know you’ll see players you think should be on the list but aren’t. Conversely, you’ll also see players on the list that you’ll vehemently disagree with. Maybe you agree with the entire top 20. Just be sure to let us know in the comment section.
Also, check out Ben’s weekly podcast at WNBA.com.– Ed.
No. 17 – Tina Thompson
I’m about to get on a soapbox, so bear with me…
/steps on soapbox.
It’s not rare for me to voice my opinion in regards to women’s basketball. In fact, it’s probably more surprising for me to write something generic without tying in my personal views; that’s just the way I write.
Having said that, I hate that Tina Thompson is no.17 on our list. Absolutely hate it.
She’s the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer (6,413 total points), 1st in total minutes played (13,711), 3rd in total rebounds (2,616), 3rd in 3-pt FG’s made (604), 5th in FT’s made (1,279), and 11th all-time in total blocks (305)…
…and she is no.17?
She was the first draft pick in WNBA history (and would lead the Houston Comets to four consecutive WNBA Championships), has won two Olympic gold medals, made the all-star game nine times, and an All-WNBA team seven times…
…and she is no.17??
Last year, her 14th in the WNBA, she arguably had one of the best seasons of her career. She shot 87% from the foul line (best in her career), shot 45% from the field (3rd best in her career), averaged 16.6 ppg (7th best in her career), and played over 1,000 minutes for the 8th time in her illustrious career…
…AND SHE IS NO.17???
/steps off soapbox.
Maybe I feel so strongly that Tina should be higher on the list because her accomplishment of being the all-time leading scorer in WNBA history happened without a majority of the sports world noticing. Maybe it’s because she embodies everything a consummate professional should. Maybe it’s because she’s a living legend of women’s basketball that is, seemingly, under-appreciated every single year. Maybe it’s because, in an interview with USA Today, when asked what her biggest accomplishment ever was she replied with one of the most heartfelt answers possible – her son, Dyllan.
Had this been a Top 20 All-Time WNBA list, Tina Thompson would’ve undeniably been somewhere in the top three. However, as we state in each introductory paragraph in this series, the list is compiled based upon quantitative and qualitative stats. So, seeing Thompson at no.17 for the upcoming season isn’t necessarily indicative of her career as a whole.
In the end, none of this will matter to Thompson – the individual records, the accolades, and certainly not the recognition.
Ironically, that’s exactly what makes me such a big fan of hers – and proves my point even further.